Area young people need everyone’s help

To the editor:

Area residents are being invited to attend a meeting sponsored by the Jefferson County Juvenile Court that will offer details about a mentoring program designed to help the young people of our area. I hope after reading this letter everyone who has a skill, an interest or an idea that could be helpful will plan to attend. It’s important that we reach out to the entire community so that we can join together to develop ideas and ways to help the youth in Jefferson County.

We at the court have a unique perspective into the problems our youth face every day here in Jefferson County. These problems are not for the faint of heart. Each day we witness young children and teenagers whose problems range from not attending school to possession of a firearm, theft, vandalism, sex crimes and other forms of delinquent behavior.

Jefferson County has gun problems, drug problems, gang problems, human trafficking problems and many other problems. Rarely are the crimes of juveniles reported or publicized and what you see on the news or read in the newspaper is just a small sample of the crimes that are being committed by our youth.

I am proposing we start a grassroots mentoring program in Jefferson County in an attempt to change the thinking of our youth and show them that we as a community care about them. We need to develop ways to identify at-risk youth sooner and offer them a better solution and better options in their lives. It is my intention that we give our youth in Jefferson County a sense of purpose by teaching them life skills. Life skills can be taught in a number of ways, i.e., welding, instruction in the trades, auto mechanics, etc.

Anyone who has a skill that could be taught is welcomed and encouraged to be a part of this vital program. Our goal is to teach our youth that their problems do not need to be solved by guns and drugs, but by education and learning skills so that they can obtain a job and be productive members of society.

I would like to invite everyone to the townhall meeting scheduled to be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at Harding Middle School, 2002 Sunset Blvd. in Steubenville to discuss a mentoring program and brainstorm ideas on how we can save our youth from the pitfalls of drug abuse, crime, etc., and show them a life with purpose. This meeting will be very important. we ask all county agencies, concerned citizens and mentors to organize and unite to help solve the problems that confront our youth and this community.

Fred Abdalla Jr.

Chief probation officer

Jefferson County

Juvenile Court